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VR mask with smells, heat, and mist struggles to find funding

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On the back of a quote from The Matrix, Feelreal, Inc. wants virtual reality to feel even more real. The company has been running a Kickstarter campaign (opens in new tab) for two projects with this end in mind. The main project is the Feelreal mask, which compliments other VR headsets by adding wind, water mist, smells, heat, and vibration to the experience.

"You don’t need to be a pilot to feel the wind, or a surfer to catch a whiff of salt and seaweed," reads the Kickstarter page. "You don’t need to be near a volcano to experience its heat. All you need is FEELREAL to sense and smell any virtual world you want."

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Feelreal doesn't want to stop there. If it receives $150K in funding it will develop the Nirvana VR helmet, which does all of this with an attached Feelreal mask—the smells, the breeze, the heat of volcanoes—along with the visual part of VR, apparently by way of a smartphone jammed into the front. The top model, the VIRT, "is not just a helmet for virtual reality, it also lets you watch a 3D video or play a game with the help of an embedded micro projector that produces in-focus high-definition images with a broad field of view."

But alas, things don't look good for smell-o-vision. With 12 days to go at the time of writing, Feelreal has only raised $18,201 of its minimum $50K. Perhaps the project would have fared better had it launched after SteamVR (aka the HTC Vive) and the Oculus Rift were on the market. If the Kickstarter fails, though, it's always possible the company will find capital some other way.

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Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.